British Swimming held an 2016 Olympic Focus weekend at Moulton College’s Chris Moody Centre swimming pool this weekend where some of GB’s top coaches gathered to look at new under-water training techniques. British Swimming has been working in partnership with the University of Southampton engineers who have developed new underwater filming methods to analyse the technique of individual swimmers so that they can make tiny adjustments to technique to improve streamlining and hydrodynamic efficiency. This is vital as even the position of a swimmer’s thumb can increase drag and cost a swimmer several hundreds of a second over the course of a race which can be the difference between first and second.
A streamline is a teardrop contour line that offers the least possible resistance to the water and in competitive swimming is the best hydrodynamic position to make when going through the water. The goal is to cut through the water as efficiently as possible and offer the least resistance to the water's flow. To make a streamline, the swimmer raises their arms above their head and puts their arms together, squeezing the head in-between it. Streamlining is so effective that it is proven that dolphin kicking with a streamline underwater is faster and takes less energy than swimming on top of the water and has proved to be so effective that swimmers are not allowed to swim underwater for more than 15 metres at the start of each length. British Swimming has been criticized over recent high profile performances so they are obviously leaving no stone unturned to gain an edge on the opposition in the run-up to Rio in 3 years’ time.